Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 17th 2017 Contents A12 news
guardian.co.tt Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Rat Invasion closes
RADHICA DE SILVA
Cancer patients at the San Fernando Oncol-
ogy Centre are facing a new setback, this time
Hospital sources said rats have been living inside
the pharmacy, gnawing at precious drugs and other
A notice posted on the doorway of the Oncology
Centre on Monday advised patients that pharmaceu-
tical services were no longer available at the centre.
There was no mention of rats.
Over the last few months patients attending the Cen-
tre could not get life-saving chemo drugs because of
inadequate pharmacists on duty.
The notice read, "Temporary Disruption of Services
due to unforeseen circumstances. Pharmacy Services
will be unavailable Today."
A source, who requested anonymity, said the centre
has been infested with rats and three weeks ago the
South West Regional Health Authority advised that
the pharmacy be closed.
Patients were directed to obtain pharmaceutical
services at the San Fernando Teaching Hospital.
Khamally Premchand, whose wife suffers from cer-
vical cancer, said it was difficult for cancer patients to
go to the main pharmacy at the San Fernando Teaching
Hospital on Chancery Lane.
"When we go there we have to stay for half day wait-
ing for medication. We have to join four lines before
we get through," Premchand said.
Calling for a special line to be set up specifically for
cancer patients, Premchand called on the SWRHA to
move swiftly to restore service at the Oncology phar-
He also said most times the drugs were not available
and had to be purchased at private pharmacies.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh directed com-
ments to the SWRHA Chairman Dr Alexander Sinanan.
In an interview, Sinanan confirmed there was a rat
infestation in the ceiling of the oncology pharmacy
"The area has since been cleared. The rats have been
exterminated and the area has been cleaned," Sinanan
Asked why the pharmacy still has not been opened,
Sinanan said the pharmacy was awaiting a final vac-
uumming, which was expected to be done yesterday.
He said he expects that the pharmacy will reopen
today or tomorrow.
A total of 15 cancer patients received treatment after
a batch of mixed chemotherapy drugs was sent down
from the Sangre Grande District Hospital.
Full oncology services are expected to resume at the
Centre from May 21.
Since February, the Oncology Centre has been crip-
pled by staff shortages which caused a backlog of cases.
This followed the resignation of the main pharmacist
who was responsible for mixing chemotherapy drugs.
Since the chemotherapy was sourced elsewhere,doc-
tors and nurses have been working additional hours
to clear the backlog.
Hospital CEO sent on vacation leave
RADHICA DE SILVA
In a move which shocked hos-
pital staffers, Chief Executive Of-
ficer of the South West Regional
Health Authority Anil Gosine
proceeded on vacation leave
with immediate effect on Monday
which would last until the end of
his contract next year.
In an internal circular issued by
the SWRHA announced the ap-
pointment of Gail Miller-Meade
to the position of Acting CEO until
further notice. Staffers were asked to
give Miller-Meade full courtesies as
she undertook her duties. The circular
caused speculation that Gosine had
in effect been removed from the job.
Chairman of the SWRHA Dr Alex-
ander Sinanan denied that Gosine
"He has not been removed. We
had a memo advising that Mrs Mill-
er-Meade will be acting as CEO. Mr
Gosine has some leave that is due to
him. He has lots of leave," Sinanan
Asked whether Gosine will be re-
turning as CEO when his leave expires,
Sinanan said, "I don't know if he will
be coming back. Based on calcula-
tions, his leave will extend until the
end of his contract which ends early
Sinanan also dispelled reports that
Gosine was escorted out of his office
at the San Fernando Teaching Hos-
pital. Gosine was not available for
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsin-
gh declined to comment on the matter
and directed questions to Sinanan.
Over the past three months Gosine
has come under fire for his handling of
issues at the San Fernando Oncology
Centre after the resident pharmacist
Training of two new pharmacists
was expected to begin but it was only
after the T&T Guardian highlighted
the story training of two new staffers
The pharmacy at the centre was
also infested with rats, while there
are ongoing problems in the medical
Gosine was appointed acting CEO
since March 2011 after his predecessor
Paula Chester-Cumberbatch was ter-
minated following the death of Crystal
Ramsumair-Boodoo during a botched
C-Section at San Fernando General
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